How common is vaginal wind?
Women experience passage of odourless vaginal wind during or after intercourse, during physical exercises or with just random movements. It may occur few times a week to multiple times a day.
In a 2009 article, Slieker-ten Howe reported 12.8% of women between 45 and 85 years old experienced vaginal wind, but the level of bother was seemingly low. However, when women with pelvic organ prolapse were survey, up to 66% complained of vaginal flatulence.
Some women suffer vaginal wind more than others do. Majority of afflicted first notice it after pregnancy, even if they had Caesarean delivery. Many who have severe disturbance gave a history of difficult and multiple vaginal deliveries. The women with weak pelvic floor have higher risk of vaginal flatulence; these are women with the bladder, uterus and bowel sagging out of the vagina. Similarly, women with urinary incontinence and those who had vaginal surgery for non-pelvic floor conditions also suffer vaginal wind more easily.
A small number of young adult women, who have no prior pregnancy, endure vaginal wind. For them, congenital connective tissue diseases have to be considered; because of the weak pelvic floor with inadequate muscular coordination. In general, vaginal wind is less common in older women, especially after the menopause.
How does vaginal wind affect the woman?
The great proportion of women with vaginal flatulence are minimally bothered, as it is infrequent. When the occurrence escalate to weekly or daily escapes, and especially when it happens in socially sensitive situation, it leads to considerable consternation. The distress alters the woman’s perception of herself, and she gradually becomes self-conscious, ashamed, embarrassed and less confident. Some women progressively withdraw from social activities; they avoid sexual contact and they self- isolate. As the popular opinion promotes vaginal wind as natural, those who are severely afflicted felt restrained to seek medical attention.
What treatment for vaginal flatulence?
Vaginal flatulence is not an established condition in the medical community and doctors, being not familiar with it, avoid dealing with it. It is a pelvic floor dysfunction and the onus is to identify the probable mechanism. Physiotherapy and pelvic floor workout is the first line of treatment. The placement of pessary inside the vagina benefit some when the problem persists. Where there is obvious anatomical prolapse, surgical correction is often effective; be it amputating an enlarged cervix or restoring the pelvic organ prolapse. In cases of isolated vaginal laxity, vaginoplasty reduces the excessive vaginal volume that encourage air trapping. In recent times, vaginal laser therapy is an excellent adjunct to rejuvenate vaginal function following both non-surgical as well as operative treatment. The fractional laser energy alters the functional integrity and caliber of the vagina, which enhances pelvic floor coordination.
Vaginal wind usually is well tolerated and does not require medical attention. For the few who are socially crippled, it may be necessary to have a thorough evaluation of the pelvic floor function. Customized management that corrects altered mechanism may resolve or improve vaginal flatulence.